Google CFO Patrick Pichette is leaving the spreadsheets for backpacking. The 52-year-old French Canadian will retire in six months and help the company find a successor. I envy him. I’m not into my 50s yet, but the prospect of taking off from work and going backpacking is very alluring.
With work these days taking over personal time, any form of break seems like a blessing in disguise. Truth be told, I have struggled to maintain the balance. It is always heavily skewed towards work. But I have realized that for one to work more productively, it is very essential to take breaks. One must be able to retain one’s sanity and keep cool even under the most stressful circumstances. So, I have decided to try some measures and hopefully they will become habits over time.
Switch off: Switch off once you leave work. If there is some work pending, leave office on time, go home and do something else other than work. Once you are fed, rested and refreshed, then open up the laptop. If you have kids, play with them.
Take breaks: Always take breaks no matter how hectic work is. Work will always be there. It is up to you to figure out the most optimal balance. My recommendation: Try one every one/two months. There are days when work can be intense and getting away from the hustle and bustle of it all will help keep your mind calm.
Have a hobby and keep at it: Develop a hobby and keep at it. While that is the easy part, maintaining the hobby is the most difficult part. I have always loved reading since my childhood. With work and home chores taking up my time, I find it difficult to get time to read. So, now I make it a point to always read on the mobile since it is always with me. I’m inspired by the BrunchChallenge and want to finish at least one book a month. I’ll let you know what kind of progress I’m making on that front.
Have a plan: As mundane as it sounds, making plans will help you structure the time that you have. I have struggled to evenly divide the time I have with the multiple things I have to do, both personally and professionally. Just like any work project, have personal timelines by which you would want a particular task done. That will help you focus on the task at hand and not get hassled by the lack of time.
Tenacity to be better, all the time: One must strive for the best things in life—be it work or personal matters. It is when one keep striving to be better that you end up discovering aspects of yourself that are buried deep within. I discovered through numerous instances that I enjoy writing as much as I do reading and wondered why this never struck me earlier. To give you a context, I have always been on the ‘desk’. In journalism parlance, this means that I used to work at the back end taking care of editing and production. As I moved here, I vowed I would write. But, it had to be over and above the role I was recruited for. Suffice to say, I’m happy I have started writing. Just regret that I didn’t do that earlier.